REGINA — SaskSoil is celebrating National Soil Conservation Week with the launch of a new producer program specifically designed to improve soil health.
The Marginal Areas Rehabilitation in Saskatchewan (MARS) program pays a financial incentive for producers to seed marginal acres to perennial forage.
Forages are being increasingly recommended as a means to manage and treat saline field areas, but the list of additional agri-environmental benefits associated with the practice is growing, according to a Ducks Unlimited press release.
Forages conserve soil, increase pollinator habitat and biodiversity, reduce herbicide-resistant weeds, act as product management buffer zones and can help address clubroot challenges, the release states.
When it comes to finding practical and pragmatic solutions, farmers are a driving force.
“Many landowners have trouble spots they suspect cost more than they produce. SaskSoil’s MARS program will help cover the costs of trialing an alternative management strategy that works to move both the soil and profitability in a positive direction,” says Mark Hoimyr, SaskSoil president.
Through the MARS program, Saskatchewan producers will have the opportunity to work with professional agrologists to help identify problem areas in their fields. In addition to receiving a $2000 rebate toward the cost of this service, participating producers will receive $75/acre to plant these identified areas to perennial forages.
MARS is endorsed by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC); producers who sign up for the program before May 15 will receive a bonus pollinator-friendly seed blend. Trevor Plews, head of conservation programs with DUC, is excited at the opportunity this new partnership between DUC and SaskSoil will bring to producers. “Through improving soil health and profitability, this additional program offering to convert marginal acres to forage will benefit Saskatchewan farms, farmers and wildlife alike.”
For more information on MARS, visit sasksoil.ca or email MARS@sasksoil.ca.